The decision not to bring in a clear-cut starter gives Lock more rope to possibly prove that John Elway's final swing at ending the revolving QB door wasn't another whiff.
After showing promise in limited reps as a rookie, Lock struggled through his second season, completing just 57.3% of his passes with 16 touchdowns to 15 interceptions, tied for the most in the NFL in 2020. Worse than the counting stats, Lock too often made dunderheaded decisions and displayed wonky mechanics, throwing off his back foot with regularity, leading to woeful inaccuracy.
Bringing in Bridgewater as the only competition allows Lock another chance to prove he's worthy of a starting gig.
Broncos lead running back Melvin Gordon told Michael Robinson and Brian Baldinger on the "NFL Total Access: The Locker Room" podcast that he wants to see more confidence from the 24-year-old quarterback and not let the outside critics get in his head.
"I just want to see Drew be more confident," Gordon said. "I feel like he got the swagger to do what he needs to do. I feel like he got the talent to do what he needs to do. He's just got to have that confidence in himself. I think right now he's stuck with trying to, instead of just proving it to himself, he might be stuck trying to prove it to the fans and to the coaches and to all these coaches that, 'hey, I'm the guy.' He's been battling. It's just like he hears the noise. We all like to say we're ignoring it, but we hear it, we hear it. And he hears it. I think he's just got to get over that, man. He got the swagger, he got the confidence, fearless out there, he's not afraid to chance it and give a guy an opportunity."
The Broncos are counting on Bridgewater either taking the job from Lock or at least pushing the youngster to higher levels in Year 3. If the former second-round pick out of Missouri stumbles at all, we'll see Teddy Two-Gloves take over the talented roster.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio reiterated Friday that Lock and Bridgewater will split reps 50-50 in camp and joked he may flip a coin to see who gets the first snap of the offseason, per NFL Network's James Palmer.
Lock spent 2019 with Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen in the QB room. Last year, it was Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien alongside Lock. Gordon noted that Lock not having a full-fledged tutor has hindered the development of the strong-armed QB both from an on-field perceptive and leadership mentor.
"I think another thing is, too, he didn't have a guy like Philip Rivers or Tom Brady or someone in front of him to really learn from, to really like learn the game and really get it, so it's kind of like him having to do it on his own," Gordon said. "He's just been kinda having to do it on his own, man. That's another reason. I think them bringing Teddy here, giving him that competition, I think that's really gonna bring the best out of him. I think we definitely gonna see another Drew, another side of him. I think we just gonna see more confidence. I can tell in meetings already that he's taking on that... You can see it. You can see it, like just the way he talks. ... You can tell the confidence.
"Sometimes it's 'fake it 'til you make it.' Sometimes you gotta fake it 'til you make it, man. I told him that before, too, in the locker room. I said, 'Bro, if it's not your strong suit to like just kinda be just loud,' I said, 'just fake it, bro. The guys are watching, bro. You gotta fake it, bro. And you fake it and eventually become who you are, but just fake it 'til you make it, bro.'"
With a playoff-ready roster everywhere but the QB position, the Broncos need Lock to "make it" ASAP. Otherwise, he'll be out of a job soon, and Denver will be back at Square 1 at the quarterback position next year.